New evidence for the social embeddedness of infants' early triangular capacities.
Infants appear to be active participants in complex interactional sequences with their parents far earlier than previously theorized. In this report, we document the capacity of 3-month-old infants to share attention with two partners (mothers and fathers) simultaneously, and trace links between this capacity and early family group-level dynamics. During comprehensive evaluations of the family’s emergent coparenting alliance completed in 113 homes, we charted infants’ eye gaze patterns during two different mother-father-infant assessment paradigms. Triangular capacities (operationalized as the frequency of rapid multishift gaze transitions between parents during interactions) were stable across interaction context. Infants exhibiting more advanced triangular capacities belonged to families showing evidence of better coparental adjustment. Theoretical and practice implications of these findings are discussed.
McHale, J., Fivaz-Depeursinge, E., Dickstein, S., Robertson, J., & Daley, M. (2008). New evidence for the social embeddedness of infants' early triangular capacities. Family Process, 47(4), 445-463. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2008.00265.x
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